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A man in North Carolina who had two DWI convictions on his record was arrested this week for a head on drunk driving crash in Concord that killed a woman and severely injured her passenger. 

Lydia Christine Velasques died when the alleged drunk driver, John L. Kennedy, 52, crossed the center line and hit her care on Branchview Drive in Concord NC.


Kennedy was arrested this week and was charged with felony death by vehicle and DWI. Kennedy was also injured in the crash and no charges were filed at first due to his significant injuries.

He was convicted of DWI in 2006 and 1989, according to court records.

Our View

Drunk driving laws in North Carolina are known to be tough, and are spelled out in NC General Statutes 20-138.1, Impaired Driving, and NCGS 20-16, Authority of Division to Suspend License. 

As in many other states, North Carolina’s statute has both a regular DWI charge and a per se charge of drunk/drugged riving. Those arrested for DWI in North Carolina will usually face both charges, and criminal prosecutors in this state will usually attenpt to prove traditional and per se drunk driving charges.

Although the laws in North Carolina are tough for DWI, this convicted drunk driver was still able to drive, and sadly this time, it led to loss of life in another drunk driving accident.

A grieving family will first want to be sure that the appropriate criminal charges are prosecuted against the responsible driver. Ultimately, the family will likely turn to the civil justice system and that is where a wrongful death action can be brought to recover on the for wrongful death losses.

In some cases, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit for DWI can result in a verdict or settlement of millions of dollars.

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